Monday, September 16, 2013

Serve yourself and save the difference

I didn't get to the grocery store over the weekend, so on my way home from work today I decided to stop at a store that recently opened in Bellingham: WinCo. When I drove in, it was bigger and more monolithic than I expected, and that made me feel like it would be time-consuming to look for the few items I wanted. But, since I had taken the trouble to drive into the parking lot, I parked and went in.

It was very large and warehousey, and I walked up and down most of the aisles to see what there was to see, and I found my stuff.

I chose what looked like a reasonably short check-out line and realized that you have to bag your own groceries there. The lady in front of me most efficiently bagged hers, but the cashier had evidently graduated at the bottom of her class from checker school, poor thing. A produce bag full of tomatoes caused a stoppage. She kept looking at the sticker, entering a code, peering at the screen, asking the customer how much it cost per pound, and the re-doing all those steps. She pressed a button for help. She checked the remainder of the items and then continued to try to figure the cost of the tomatoes. She again pushed her help button and finally another woman came to assist. She too entered a code and frowned at the screen, then she looked at a piece of paper, pronounced the price per pound, asked the checker if she knew how to do that, and, finally, between the two of them they got the tomatoes checked out. Then the customer tried to use her debit card and the machine kept buzzing at her, and the cashier told her to start over.

I tried to keep my face expressionless the whole time. I hate it when people throw hissy fits in stores and, ever since I was a cashier my first year out of college, courtesy to cashiers has been one of my benchmarks of character. The customer kept looking at me deprecatingly and finally mouthed how sorry she was. I told her no problem at all.

Anyway, it all finally got done, then I got checked out, bagged my own groceries and headed home.

I wasn't that crazy about my WinCo experience, but I will say that a lot of the items were noticeably cheaper than at other stores.

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